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Sunday, October 26, 2014
Breakfast at school will start your day off right. And lunch will keep you going!

All Mobile County Public Schools students will be able to eat a free breakfast and free lunch this year.

Alabama’s largest school system has been approved for a federal program which provides any student – not just those who financially qualify for the free meals – a healthy, hot breakfast upon arriving to school and a well-balanced, nutirional lunch in the middle of their school day.

The school system will be reimbursed either the entire cost of the breakfast, or a portion of the cost, based on each student's family's financial situation.

Last fall, the school system served 19,700 breakfasts daily, and more than 40,000 lunches, making MCPSS the largest restaurant in Alabama. The school system has about 59,000 students. MCPSS Child Nutrition Director Suzanne Yates said her goal is to increase the number of students eating breakfast at school from 30 percent to 60 percent. Students who eat breakfast, she said, are more likely to perform well in class, come to school and be on time to school.  "We're also hoping this will help with behavior," Yates said. "The more food children have in their stomachs, the less likely they are to act out."

Schools will offer the free breakfasts in one of several different ways, depending on demand and the layout of the school. They are: in the cafeteria, in the classroom, or by having a kiosk in another location of the school.  Lunches will continue to be offered in the same manner as in previous years.

The Universal Free Breakfast program is run by the USDA, which requires that grains, milk and juice be served. Yates said the cafeterias also try to provide a meat. A sample breakfast menu may be:

  • A chicken biscuit, fruit and milk.
  • A pancake on a stick, fruit and milk.

School lunches must also adhere to state and federal guidelines for nutrition.

Mobile County Public Schools is the only district in Alabama to have all its schools meet the Healthier U.S. Schools Challenge by serving nutritious meals and emphasizing more physical activities.

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